Actually WordPress Co-Founder and CEO of Automattic, Matt Mullenweg talks with BobWP and Jonathan Wold on the Do the Woo Podcast about a number of topics near and dear, WooCommerce being the lead topic but also a good portion on open source.
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So, about a year prior to [Automattic] doing the [WooCommerce] acquisition, I started saying that I wanted there to be a canonical eCommerce plugin and Automatic (sic) was probably going to do something in this space. That year, year and a half, it was just learning. It’s a big, complicated, hairy area, but I believe that if we can democratize commerce like we have publishing with WordPress, it unlocks so much economic opportunity in the whole world and we need that independent alternative to the centralized services, right? Amazon is kind of like the Facebook or the AOL of commerce. We need people to have the alternative to be free, I mean, at the end of the day.Matt Mullenweg
I still think this is a big “complicated hairy area” not only with regards to ecommerce and WordPress but open source in general. Usability and to develop upon ecommerce platforms is far from being as friendly as using WordPress out of the box. Payment processing, gateways, and credit cards are stumbling blocks to fully free, as in beer, and free, as in speech, end to end open source. Proprietary firms are ahead of open source with regards to this. This is certainly a huge challenge and opportunity for open source and of course WordPress / WooCommerce.
Speaking on a slightly different bit of open source and why some project stagnate or fail, Matt states: “You can have a version of regulatory capture where what made the project successful inhibits it from reaching the next stage of growth.” While Matt’s examples regarding that capture, especially in the Joomla community, really miss the mark – he is 100% correct with the overarching issue. As Joomla President I had a deep level of exposure to the exact idea of regulatory capture. I don’t think any project is immune and in fact should be very cognizant that levels of it are occurring at any given point in them.
The whole podcast and transcript are very worth the time.